Tuesday, December 30, 2008
What Is Friendship, Anyway?
Lots swirling about in my head today. I should be cleaning. I've got laundry in and the dishwasher is half full. I've got a cup of tea by my side. My mom will be here soon. But lots of inklings of things going on around me that keep nagging at me. Friendship. On my post about Talents, Alix commented that her talent is being a great friend. How do you define yourself as a great friend? I have many people in my life that I am friendly with. Aside from Jeff, I have 2 people that I am especially close to. And only one of them really fully qualifies as a true "friend." Or is that true? One friend is someone I've known since college. We've had ups and downs. Well, a huge down that ended up bringing us closer than ever. And now it's like we are more spiritual best friends. I know him immensely well. I know his core. He lives far away so he isn't part of my everyday. But I know his insides and he knows mine. One phone call and there isn't even a need for a lot of words... we just know. One friend is part of my daily life. I tell her practically everything. She knows me inside and out. She is a huge part of my kids' lives. She is dependable and loyal and consistent. I can call on her in times of crisis or joy and she will comfort or celebrate as needed and then some. So how do you define friendship? What kind of friend are you? Friend, as defined by dictionary.com, is "a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard." Well that certainly doesn't make it sound as serious as what I seem to expect of my friends. A friend is simply someone I feel attached to because I like them, basically. But my expectations of friendship are so much more vast than that! I think we need a better word than friend. I joke that Christy is more like a sister to me... but it isn't really much of a joke. Because she really is more than a friend, especially if you consider the definition above. Maybe it would be better to define "family?" Most of the definitions are focused on blood relations, on parents and children. And then I fell upon definition #10. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together So Christy doesn't live with us. But we do share common attitudes, interests, and goals. Jim doesn't live near us but we do share common attitudes, interests, and goals. What's missing? Values. Common values. I value loyalty, compassion, honesty, sense of humor, reliability, trustworthiness. When Jeff and I first got pregnant, we lost that baby to a miscarriage. It was one of the defining tragedies of our marriage and it happened just months after our wedding. Jim was living in Nashville at the time and when I called to tell him, he dropped everything, rearranged his life, and drove straight here to be with us for those early days. Reliability. Compassion. Loyalty. Christy is the only person that I trust to watch my kids so Jeff and I can have a date night. When we just need a couple of hours away on a weekend, which isn't often, Christy is the only one I call. Reliability. Trustworthiness. She's also the friend who convinces me to let loose, get out of the house sometimes, lets me know that my messy house is totally ok... Sense of Humor. Honesty. I am blessed to have these 2 people in my life. They fulfill different parts of me. Perhaps because those friendships are so amazing, it isn't possible for others to meet the expectations? the bar has been set too high? But I still expect things from people. I still expect people who choose to call themselves friends to follow through on promises, commitments, plans. Reliability. Honesty. Trustworthiness. Remember? But I still cling to this hope that the people I like, the people I have interest in, will meet those expectations and become something beyond the simple definition of friend. But I find that I tend to wind up disappointed. And what kind of friend am I? I think I give what I get. I think I live those important values in my friendships. I think that Jim and Christy would agree with all I've said. I don't feel that I brush off my friends. I don't feel that I'm someone to cancel plans or not mean the things I say. I keep confidences. I'm loyal. Reliable. Funny. Fun. Passionate and Compassionate. What kind of friend are you? Do you rely on friends to be more than the simple definition? Do you strive to be more of the family type of friend?